Personally he doesn’t use drugs. Still, comedian and father Steven Brunswijk (38) asserts the topic in a liberal and progressive way, as he claims that the Dutch policy regarding drugs has become too restrictive.
Text Isa Davids, Photography Maxim Sakovich
Why did you agree to become ambassador for High Humans?
‘When I got approached by High Humans for the first time, the first thing that came to mind was: “Why me?” I don’t have any experience with drugs, with the exception of having done weed for once- which immediately led to a long coughing session. After that I never touched anything again, however, I did encounter a lot of others doing drugs when I was working as a doorman. I therefore still felt related to the topic, as I think that the currently policy isn’t working’
What do you think about the policy then?
‘The policy is becoming more and more restrictive, even though I strongly believe that this isn’t working at all. Why? Because I think that when you forbid something, people will only become more intrigued. The same goes for drugs. Back in the days, the Netherlands used to be a place that people admired for their progressive drug policy. Now countries like Canada are way ahead of us, you can see how these countries are developing new strategies in terms of decriminalization and legalization. The Dutch are far too proud. Why not ask these countries for advice? Be more open to creativity and new ideas. But they – I’m referring to the government- think they can do anything themselves. If the folks in politics would listen more and position themselves differently, we could yet again become a representative country in the field of drug policy. It would be amazing if other countries would look at us and say: ‘See how they’re doing it in the Netherlands?’ But the government doesn’t do that.
You’re a comedian, do you think humor plays a role within this discussion?
‘I think humor always plays some sort of role, but that is not the way I would like to inspire people. I would like to inspire young people in a way that they can use in their future. And teach them that when they do drugs, they know exactly what they are using. Create a safe environment for themselves. I am a father and I would like it if my children would be able to go to a public health stand at festivals to see what an XTC-pill contains. Because you can never know for sure, and this can lead to disastrous situations. I mean, kids, they just want to experiment a little, I get that. But try to have them do it in the safest way possible.’
I mean, kids, they just want to experiment a little, I get that. But try to have them do it in the safest way possible.
Do you think the government is responsible for the safety of our younger generation?
‘I think they should try to make drug use as safe as possible. But just restricting everything only leads to more problems. You hear these stories about kids who have barely turned 18, who die because they have taken the wrong pill. In my opinion, these situations could have been avoided by campaigning and educating about drugs. Telling them that kids are not necessarily good or bad, but that you have to be 100 percent sure what you are using.’
Do you think that our goal is realistic?
‘I believe in High Humans and the community that is evolving around it. However, I think it may take a while before we have achieved our goal. Our government consists of old people who fail to offer their seat to young people with fresh, new ideas. Our generation is leading the way when it comes to progressive policy, but it will take some time before this new age vision has been fully implemented. This doesn’t happen overnight. In the meantime, however, we can help speed things up a little.’
You don’t do drugs yourself, why do you feel connected to this project?
‘I have seen what drugs can do to young people, when I was still working as a doorman. You can definitely tell that some people don’t have their substance use under control. Aggressiveness and oblivion often play a big part here. I have collected so much amphetamine from people that I could’ve started my own personal drug lab. Other drugs too, XTC and LSD for example. Sometimes, fights even occurred. If at that time, there would have been a desk where you could safely purchase drugs, only to use them in clubs and bars, the situation would have been 180 degrees different. You hereby disqualify street vendors, and you can control the usage in public. I think that many young people would think: Hey, if I go to this place, there is a legal selling point for drugs where I have access to safe drugs, and I also have a great night.’ This would also improve the situation for the employees, because most doormen have to step in when people get aggressive. The second reason that has inspired me to become ambassador is because I have children myself. The oldest one is now seven. It would be nice if in ten years she has the opportunity to experiment with drugs in a safe and controlled environment.’
‘I have collected so much amphetamine from people that I could’ve started my own personal drug lab’
Is there anything you would like to say to the younger generation?
‘Maybe it has nothing to do with drugs, but pursue your dreams and your talent. Corona may cause the impression that life is standing still, but that isn’t necessarily true. Think about what your future may look like. Do you have a good idea? Write it out in a business plan. Who knows what your future may look like. There are so many possibilities, this also applies to me. But you have to create your own perspective!’